Lorenzo Pirisino
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Tales from a lost PDA - Meeting with the CEO

Posted on 2009/09/14 19:21:35 (September 2009).

[Monday 20th July 2009]

I have just come out one of those "events" and I found fit to translate this bit written by our hero, Mr.X, where he's now telling us about the meetings with big shot directors and the sale force. A truly stressing experience by the looks of it…


Monday morning, 8.54 AM, computer booting up and “electric coffee” (that’s how I call that beverage that comes out of the vending machines here at the head office) already starting to spread like a poison through the digestive system.

Barely awaken, computer churning away trying to run a virus check routine together with the disk de-frag (for the people that do not understand, this is why it takes 20 minutes for a PC to turn on, thanks to the poor IT services), email springs up and….

“Meeting, CEO Room, Thursday 15.00 PM – Bigcompany SWOT Analysis, Sales Policies SWOT Analysis” – Confirm, Reject, Reply –

Everyone for a moment has the idea of “Fucking REJECT” this thing, just to see what happens, a revolutionary escape from the boring routine, but eventually the mouse moves slowly and unmistakeably towards “Confirm”. As a sort of insult added to the injury the computer now asks if you want to say "something" in comment to the meeting... Again the hand moves towards "Send"...

You have just won a trip to the Time Wasters Hell, with no return ticket.

SWOT Analysis is an acronym for “Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats” and it’s a quite basic form of check that is employed in many fields. In this case the idea is to have something concise, direct and quick for future reference.

As you approach this task the feeling is always the same “…oh finally they want to hear MY opinion!” but then after some years of work the realistic part of the meeting strikes in “…oh shit, we are going to waste 4 hours discussing about nothing, bickering all time, and this is all because the Commercial Director doesn’t have the balls to stand up to the board!”.

Yes, you read correctly, since many directors do not have the courage to tell the proprietors or the CEO the truth about something, they need to send the front line forward, although the problem is that instead of having a discussion one to one, you have a discussion ten to one, where the ten do not hold back and start going through every little detail of the things that are not working “FOR MY MARKETS”…

Well, yes, you read correctly, the magic word “for my areas/markets” is the safety box for any Area Manager as usually the expertise that a salesman has on the area and clients is by far superior to the one that directors and big cheese CEOs think they have. And no matter what you say they are never going to contradict you because the reply is the old time favourite "... well you could go there yourself to experience directly...".

Anyway, going back to my terrible Monday, mind quickly races to the last time that a meeting was held, people screaming their opinions on the top of each other in order to get the spotlight, CEO and directors denying all the problems and replying with Macro-data, few people try to mediate the positions to no avail, in the end the meetings end up with a distinct feeling that nothing was achieved.

This is more or less the way I am preparing my SWOT analysis, as usual I have listed all the things that I do not like, that do not work and that most certainly would cost me the job if spoken in such occasions. How would you think our board would react to a “Innovation process impaired as left to the same old people”, “Sales Division limits not clear, predator attitude from divisional directors to steal clients from other sale staff” and the one I like best “Lack of an homogeneous commercial strategy”…

So in the end, I am getting ready for the usual run-of-the-mill address from the CEO and the even more usual we-always-say-the-same-shite part from our sales team

In the end the real problem is that the over-complications that modern times have imposed on companies is at the heart of this inefficiency. Some people work to explain their role in a certain organization, and to do so they must create problems so that they explain their role in a certain firm. In this case the sales director doesn't know what to say, actually doesn't NEED to be there, and must put on a show, so that people are convinced that he's doing something...

Oh well, my excel page and stats are ready, I guess that we'll add some points from the other sales staff just to look as if we are a real team, and then we'll get ready for the show!


Check out the older Chapters in the Tales from a Lost PDA series:

I - The Lesser Damage
II - Good Times
III - We Need to be a Team
IV - Sledgehammer
V - Tonight?
VI - Bokki
VII - Sales on the Move

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